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Honors Students Recruit Class of 2017

Welcome Party Convinces Future River Hawks

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Commonwealth Honors Program Ambassadors, including Danae Rosario, left, convinced many potential Honors students to choose UMass Lowell at a spring event. Photo by Trudy Umstead.

By Julia Gavin

For many high-achieving high school students, the college search includes researching universities, meeting with professors and long talks about career goals. But often, their decision is made once they step foot on campus and see for themselves the life of a college community. Prospective Commonwealth Honors Program students got a custom look at what their college careers could be like during the spring 2013 Welcome Day.

The Honors After Party – designed and hosted by current Honors students with help from several departments – offered 229 prospective Honors students and their families a preview of the program. Members of the new Honors Student Ambassadors program offered firsthand experiences of University life, led tours of Honors housing, discussed courses and introduced high school students to professors in their fields. Prospective students were encouraged to meet as many ambassadors as possible to earn raffle tickets, breaking the ice on many college life conversations.

“Our goal was to make the case for UMass Lowell and convince these high-achieving students they could get a great deal here and be part of an excellent community,” Andrew Ambrosino, a founding Honors Ambassador says. “We received great feedback and heard from many students that we helped them decide to come here next year.”

One student who was convinced at the party is Kevin Dibble, a Westford high school student looking to study computer science and robotics next year when he enters with 51 college credits under his belt. The event made Dibble feel engaged with the Honors community even before he officially enrolled. Knowing that the event was developed and run by students made him realize the opportunities he will have in the program.

“The opportunity for students to take an idea and make it a reality spoke highly of the program and University as a whole,” says Dibble.  “Also, I liked how there were a lot of professors and students to talk to about the Honors program. The sheer number of faculty and student attendees showed that the people in the program are willing to give their own time to make an impression on incoming freshmen.”

The welcome party also engaged parents, allowing them to meet the students and professors their children might live and work with for several years. Dibble’s mother says the event solidified the family’s decision about his college career.

“Every time we visited the University, we felt better about everything,” says Jacki Dibble. “Being in the Honors program is one of the reasons that Kevin chose UMass Lowell. The focus on the Honors program was special because we could see the kids in action. They were normal students who showed confidence, energy and friendliness, all in a relaxed environment. I could see that my son would fit in well and having the opportunity to rub elbows with future friends at the party was invaluable.”

Responses like the Dibbles’ are exactly what the Honors students were working toward, says Ambrosino.

“Between Honors housing, the engaging classes and the culture, it’s a really great community to be part of,” says Ambrosino. “I’ve made some of my best friends in the Honors program. We want other students like us to have the same opportunities.” 

For more information on the Commonwealth Honors Program, visit its website. To see pictures from the event, visit the program on Facebook.